France has elected its new President, Socialist Francois Hollande, and while financial markets react to the vote, along with the rise of right-wing extremists in Greece’s Parliament, French artist Ron Agam worries about the fate of European Jews.
“What is in question is who he [Hollande] has aligned himself with, The Greens, the extreme left, and the communist party. They are viciously anti-Israeli. That is the dramatic aspect of it. They will certainly have an inluence on issues of importance,” Agam said in an interview with The Algemeiner.
According to Agam, outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy built a relationship with French Jews unlike any other head of the state in the country’s history, and his proactive approach in confronting Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon gained him the large amount of support he held among the Jewish voting block. However, the strong connection Sarkozy built with France’s Jewish community and the economic peril facing Europe, led to the overwhelming support of French Muslims for incoming President Francois Hollande.
“Sarkozy, when he became President, he brought in a number of Muslim ministers and he wanted them to feel more integrated. With time, what happened was the economic crisis became so hard, the communities that suffered the most were the disenfranchised, and the Muslim community suffered more than others because of lack of education, and the lack of integration into general society,” he said.
One of the proposed policies made by Hollande during his election run also helped his stature among French Muslims.
“The promise of the socialists was more appealing to them because there’s a law being proposed that would allow foreigners living in France to vote in local elections,” Agam said. ”A lot of Muslim French families have relatives in Algeria, Morroco, and other places, and a current French law says they can bring these relatives to France.”
With Europe’s financial problems continuing to plague the entire continent, including a near bankruptcy in Spain and major spending cutbacks in Italy and Greece, Agam worries about the social implications of an economic crisis that has no end in sight. This past weekend, while France was electing its new President, Greek voters provided enough support for Neo-Nazis to gain a voting block in Parliament.
Asked whether Europe had learned it’s lesson over the rise of antisemitism in conjunction with mass economic hysteria, Agam spoke directly.
“I believe the only difference between 1930 and today is the state of Israel and that they will accept Jews all over the world.”